Sessions I & II
Moderator: Bill Stacey
What is Class? Is there a “new class” based not on bourgeois wealth justly earned, but power? Equality is a goal that “progressives” have promoted, typically focusing on redistribution of wealth as a tool to achieve this goal. Yet in the process of taking wealth from some, a “new class” of takers emerges that may not have personal wealth, but increase their power and command of the vast resources of the state.
In the former communist East, this “nomenclature” became rapacious and collapsed. In the West it is becoming an increasing burden that is undermining civility, growth and its own ability to maintain the welfare state that underpins its power.
Can the idea of “class” or a “new class” help to understand the philosophical, economic and power dynamics of how the state is eroding self-governance? Underlying this is the universal and eternal human concern of how humans interact with one another, how we can live in harmony with one another.
Is inequality a problem that classical liberals should be concerned about? Or a natural result of unequal endowments and effort that should be celebrated? Does the New Class create new forms of inequality? Through an open discussion we will explore a diversity of perspectives on how we can ensure the well-being of a society through the equal distribution of resources and rights.
Sessions III & IV
Moderator: Ken Schoolland
“The best defense against foreign aggression is to stop aggression at home.” Is the spiritual side of our lives a component to bringing health and well-being to people? Have pleas for government action rebounded with adverse effects?
Hong Kong has always been ranked at the top of The Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Index. Hong Kong is also currently embroiled in struggle over majoritarian democracy and democratic institutions. The question remains whether majoritarian democracy may be a way to advance the cause of communist-type controls over society. Is democracy more likely a threat to individual liberty? Hong Kong also has a history of experiencing open immigration, closed immigration and a desire by many for open emigration to other nations. Some would say, “It doesn’t matter on which side on the border a guard stands, the effect on a refugee is the same.” What migration policy is best for Hong Kong to achieve prosperity and a respect for individual rights? Will Hong Kong ultimately achieve more or less freedom? Would an anarcho-capitalist society be the realization of a dream or a nightmare?
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